Zanzibar, the name rolls off your tongue and sounds delightfully exotic - and it certainly is. This semi-autonomous group of islands off the coast of Tanzania is a real must-visit if you're spending time in this part of Africa.
Zanzibar comprises a group of of several small islands and two main ones which are also the largest - Pemba and Unguja. As you can probably imagine, there are many wonderful beaches on these isles, where you'll find glorious white sands lapped by the azure-blue waters of the Indian Ocean against the verdant backdrop of lush palm trees waving in the wind.
It's well worth visiting both Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island) and Pemba, as they each have something very different to offer. The former is predominantly flat, with an amazing sandy coastline. By contrast, Pemba is hilly and covered in lush vegetation, which has resulted in its other moniker - the Green Island.
Although it isn't home to as many beaches as its larger neighbour, Pemba is where you can really get back to nature and discover the likes of mangrove forests along the coast, peaceful lagoons and beautiful jungles.
It's also strongly associated with traditional healers and voodoo, so it's a fantastic place to come if you want to engage with this more "magical" and occult side of the local culture.
That's not to say that Zanzibar Island is devoid of cultural attractions - far from it - and one day wandering around the streets of its capital Stone Town will introduce you to its rich heritage. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where many of the buildings have been preserved for hundreds of years.
What really makes Stone Town special, however, is the mixture of architectural styles that reflects its varied past. Elements of Arabic, African, Indian and European design can be found throughout the city - a testament to its development over the centuries.
Ultimately, the great thing about Zanzibar as a holiday destination is its variety - this tropical island paradise really does have everything on offer; from culture and history to outstanding natural beauty. You can combine lazy days lounging on picturesque stretches of sand with more active afternoons uncovering the varied and interesting cultural heritage of the archipelago.